EPA approves extension of Woodside’s NWS LNG project
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia has recommended approval to increase the life of Woodside’s North West Shelf (NWS) LNG project with strict conditions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the existing facility to net-zero by 2050, it said on June 30.
Woodside will be required to achieve net-zero emissions at its Karratha gas plant, which has been operating since 1984. The NWS joint venture, operated by Woodside, proposes to extend the life of its Karratha gas plant to enable the processing of third-party gas and fluids until 2070.
EPA chair professor Matthew Tonts said greenhouse gas emissions had been a critical part of the environmental impact assessment over more than three years. He said the EPA had insisted on additional measures for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to those proposed by the NWS joint venture in its Greenhouse Gas Management Plan.
“If unabated, the extension proposal would have emitted a total of 385mn metric tons of CO2-e over its life. But through this assessment, we have been able to insist on a reduction of more than 250mn metric tons,” Tonts said. “Conditions require the proponent to avoid, reduce and/or offset the total quantity of reservoir carbon dioxide emissions released to the atmosphere from the issue date of any ministerial approval to 2029.”
Woodside’s executive vice president Australian Operations Fiona Hick said the NSW joint venture would carefully consider the conditions outlined by the EPA.
“After extended engagement with the EPA and relevant stakeholders over more than three years, the release of the EPA report and recommended conditions marks an important step towards securing the future of the NWS project and ongoing benefits for our community,” she said.
“At a time of heightened concern around energy security, the NWS project has an important role to play in delivering natural gas to local and international customers, providing energy that can support their decarbonisation commitments,” she added.
Woodside has faced stiff challenges from conservationists over its Scarborough project offshore Western Australia. The Australian Conservation Foundation Incorporated (ACF) earlier this month started proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to the environmental assessment of the Scarborough project.
The EPA report will be sent to environment minister Reece Whitby who will make the final decision on the proposal.